1645John Winthrop’s Journal provides the earliest account of colonial vessels sent to the Grand Banks.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

A fishing voyage to the banks off Newfoundland was organized by Boston and Cambridge merchants in 1645, according to John Winthrop’s Journal: History of New England, 1630-1649. Their “ship and other vessels” were overtaken by a Captain Firnes, “being of the king’s party,” who seized the fish and sent the Massachusetts fishermen and sailors home. It is not clear whether the English captain was a privateer or pirate, but Winthrop notes that Captain Firnes later lost two of his five ships near the Azores (the “Terceras”) in a battle with one Scottish and two London boats.

Winthrop, John; Hosmer, James Kendall, ed., James Kendall Hosmer, ed. Winthrop’s Journal “History of New England,” 1630-1649. C. Scribner’s Sons, 1908, https://archive.org/details/winthropsjournal04wint/page/n11/mode/2up. Dow, George Francis. Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Society for the Preservation of the New England Antiquities, 1935, https://archive.org/details/everydaylifeinma00dowg.
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